July 22nd: The Guns, the Bad and the Uglies

Extreme Prejudice

149. Extreme Prejudice (Walter Hill, 1987)

Nick Nolte is Texas Ranger Jack Benteen, trying to bring the law to a part of the country that just can’t shake the Wild West spirit. Powers Booth is Cash Bailey, cross border drug baron and formerly Jack’s best friend. That’d be a pretty straightforward 80’s action film, but if you throw in Michael Ironside’s crack black ops crew and bank robbery – you’re on to a winner.

Walter Hill’s homage to Peckinpah’s Wild Bunch just drips with masculinity. With a cast of big, strong men with booming voices and ‘interesting’ faces, a storyline of old friendships tested to breaking point and the possession of a relatively unimportant woman as a central conceit – this is pure manliness writ large. There’s plenty of guns and plenty of opportunities to use them. There’s no real subtext here, no major issue dealt with in any meaningful way – this is good guys and bad guys and some guys you aren’t quite sure about until the end. It’s kinetic, booming and broad in every way except for the watertight direction from Walter Hill. What a phenomenal cast too! B-list wonders pop up in every direction. William Forsythe, Clancy Brown and Rip Torn crop up to round out the cast of familiar faces, each one ugly in their own beautiful way. Extreme Prejudice climaxes in a crazed shootout with bullets in every direction. It’s lean genre film-making and there was a time when Walter Hill did it very well, before he got involved with nonsense like Supernova.

Much thanks to Conor who has been telling me about Extreme Prejudice for ages and bought me an excellent Walter Hill box-set for my birthday.

April 3rd: Going to outer space?

Right, well I’m back off holiday and despite innumerable distractions I’m going to review the seven films that I’ve seen and carry on watching. Hopefully we can get the traffic back up on this site!

supernova

84. Supernova (Thomas Lee, 2000)

Who is Thomas Lee? According to many sources Thomas Lee is the director of Supernova but according to others Walter Hill directed it. Some even suggest that Francis Ford Coppola had a hand in the film. The truth is that Thomas Lee doesn’t exist. He is a figment of the imagination, conjured to save the blushes of the many hands that touched this film. Walter Hill has apparently signed a non-disclosure agreement to never say anything about the production and it isn’t certain if Coppola ever really acknowledged his involvement. If you want to read a fascinating article about the production then check out David Hughes’ excellent book The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. It is this book that prompted me to watch the film. For a taster check out this Times article about great sci-fi movies we’ll never see.

But what of the Supernova film I managed to see? Well it claimed to be some kind of extended cut but it felt very clipped to me. In the 22nd century (I think) the crew of a kind of ‘space ambulance’ are called to a distress signal at an abandoned mining facility. Things start to go from bad to worse as they pick up the lone survivor, the clearly demented Karl Larson. They also find his prized possession, an alien artifact that has odd effects on the crew members. It doesn’t seem to be able to stop Robin Tunney from getting her tits out at the drop of a hat though. There is one point where Lou Diamond Phillips (yes, him from La Bamba) appears to have sex with a future alien bomb. That’s strange. It isn’t worth hunting down a copy of Supernova without knowing the back-story, it is a pretty average piece of cinema and the deleted scenes weren’t nearly as mental as the rumoured scene of Lou Diamond Phillips turning into a 6′ baby.